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One of the many reasons why a tough competition exists among applicants for a limited number of Postal Service employment opportunities is generous retirement benefits given to postal service workers. This is certainly a fitting end to the stability that USPS career employees have. Because of unionized representation, they are protected from layoffs after they have worked for a certain number of years continuously.
There are two kinds of retirement systems that are currently in use by the Postal Service: 1) Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and 2) Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Postal workers who were hired prior to January 1, 1987 are covered by the first system while those who started work after that date will have their retirement benefits given by the FERS.
For US postal worker who are covered by the CSRS to be eligible for benefits, they need to have worked with the USPS for a minimum period of 5 years. However, he or she can only start to collect the benefits after turning 62 years old. Those covered under the CSRS are able to retire at 60 years old provided that they have worked for 20 years. If a worker wanted to retire earlier, say at 55, he must serve the Postal Service for 30 years.
As a contributory system, postal workers usually put in about 7 to 8 percent of their salary to their retirement plan. They will receive their benefits when they become eligible to retire.
For postal workers who fall under the FERS, they must have worked with the USPS for a minimum of five years to be eligible for benefits. Retirement age depends upon an employee’s birth year but the minimum ages at which a postal worker can retire range from 55 to 57 years old. Annuity contributions for Social Security and Basic Plan under the FERS are deducted from the paycheck of an employee.
Another source of funds for those who will be retiring under the FERS is the Thrift Savings Plan which the employee can choose to join. You contribute to the TSP during your working years so that you increase your nest egg when you retire. The government also gives tax benefits for those who elect to join their company’s Thrift Savings Plan.
It isn’t surprising that there are many who wish to join the ranks of the U.S. Postal Service. Take note, however, that the retirement plans are only given to career employees. They are not available for casual or temporary postal workers or those who hold non-career employment classifications.